Two reports on Tamir Rice’s death commissioned by Cuyahoga County, Ohio, prosecutors have concluded that officer Timothy Loehmann acted in a “reasonable” manner when he shot and killed Rice. One report was completed by a former FBI officer named Kimberly Crawford and the other by a Colorado prosecutor named S. Lamar Sims. Loehmann shot the 12-year-old Rice, who was carrying a replica gun, on Nov. 22, 2014, while responding to a 911 call. The new reports assert that Loehmann was justified in using deadly force against Rice because he was justified in believing that Rice presented a threat to his life. From Crawford’s report:
When Officers Garmback and Loehmann arrived on the scene, Officer Loehmann was on the passenger side of the vehicle which was within close proximity to Rice. At the time, Rice was reportedly armed with a handgun, and Officer Loehmann was without cover. Following universal training and procedures, Officer Loehmann’s attention would be focused on Rice’s hands as they moved towards his waist band and lifted his jacket. Unquestionably, the actions of Rice could reasonably be perceived as a serious threat to Officer Loehmann.
Wrote Crawford elsewhere in her report “The after acquired information—that the individual was twelve-years-old, and the weapon in question was an ‘airsoft gun’—is not relevant to a constitutional review of Officer Loehmann’s actions.”
Both reports evaluated Loehmann’s actions in respect to federal law rather than Ohio state law or Cleveland police policy. Under Ohio law, the decision as to whether to charge Loehmann with a felony in Rice’s death will have to be made by a grand jury; prosecutors have said they will present the case to a grand jury but have not publicly said when they plan to begin doing so.